Being that there’s no over-emphasizing its importance,
Arthur Lee aficionados can claim a certain amount of credibility in heralding
the newly unearthed Love Lost as Love’s
holy grail, the missing link between the band’s latter trajectory and Lee’s
transition into an ultimately abbreviated solo career. While several of these songs were rerecorded
and released in different versions at a later time, Love Lost presents this material in primal form, stripped down and
still in the process of shaping and discovery.
When these sessions were initiated in mid 1971, the Love
legacy had pretty much run its course as far as the band’s recorded output was
concerned, and Lee’s focus on a new direction well beyond the original group’s
regal psychedelia was well on its way.
Although Lee’s stature as an African American musician had been viewed
as something of an anomaly amidst the pure pop, day-glo happenstance of the mid
and late ‘60s, by the end of that era and the start of the ‘70s Lee had shed
the artiness and artifice and was weighing in with a darker imprint.
Sharing many of the same sentiments as his good friend and
occasional collaborator, Jimi Hendrix (check out “Midnight Sun, a near note-
for-note recasting of “Axis Bold As Love”), the music began tilting more
towards deeper grooves and a grittier approach, and even in this rudimentary
form, these sessions exemplify Lee’s more primal intents. Those hoping for the expansive sound of Forever Changes will scarcely recognize
the straight-ahead, Hendrix-infused sound demonstrated here, and as emphasized
by the inclusion of several acoustic demos, the rawer elements of Lee’s music
are clearly evidences. Even so, accessibility
isn’t in short supply; the riveting “Love Jumped Through My Window,” the
soon-to-be standard “Everybody’s Gotta Live” and a deft medley incorporating a
short snippet of Jimi’s “Ezy Ryder” help illustrate Love’s later evolution. Likewise, a detailed essay inside the
gatefold sleeve offers further enlightenment about Lee’s oeuvre at the
More intriguing than essential for casual fans, this glimpse
at a work in progress will likely be coveted by Love and Lee’s devotees.
Standout Tracks: “Midnight Sun,” “Everybody’s Gotta Live,” “”Trippin & Slippin’/Ezy Rider”